Saturday, March 31, 2007

Untitled (1667288)

My niece, Abby, has one of her paintings posted at the Artison website. For those unfamiliar, Artison is an online gallery, dedicated to displaying artwork by school children from all over the world. Abigail's Surrealistic piece (untitled, as far as I know, but that I have dubbed "1667288") was selected by the art teacher at her school to represent the work being developed by fifth graders. It can be found by clicking on the above link and typing in the named "Abby474." Be sure and sign her guest book and leave a comment. When you're finished, take a moment to browse around the rest of the site to see all the unique and brilliant work up for display by various young artists.

It's evident that Abby (along with her sister, Sabra) has an artistic talent that's common in the Teel family. She's certainly grown as an artist and I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with down the line. Congratulations, Abby.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Two Portraits Of Baby

The baby in the book isn't named "Audrey," but obviously she's inspired by her. Here's the two "looks" she sports in the book. Hopefully she doesn't look too much like Burgess Meredith.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No Strings Attached

Today, after having a five day vacation--followed by two days back at work, I find myself at home yet again. This time, it's under entirely different circumstances. I received a call from Laura informing me that young Thomas had fallen ill and that daycare services would be closed for today.

For the past several months, we've been patiently awaiting Audrey's first steps. She's come close. She's gotten to where she stands up, but only in short increments. Lisa, always the worrier, has been doing research on the internet to figure out if something might be wrong, seeing as how Thomas has been walking for a few months now and he's only a month older than Audrey. I've had to remind her several times that at the age of ten months I took my first step, which was met with disaster. I was so discouraged by this that I didn't even try again until I was 32 months old.

"There's still hope," I remind her.

But what would Audrey roaming around free do to our lifestyle? She'll be into everything. And what about the act of walking unto itself? I still can't get over Thomas' bouncing up to me when I enter their house on a daily basis. I tell Chad and Laura that he looks like a puppet. Or better yet, a little boy who's being held up by an invisible man. Laura laughs at this, despite my seriousness, and Chad has confessed that it creeps him out a bit since Thomas is always sneaking up on him now.

So today Audrey is in her playroom as I stand in the kitchen, on the phone with Mom. As usual, Mom asks if Audrey has started walking yet. I tell her no, but that she seems restless and ready to go. It's at this very moment that Audrey stands up and begins to walk toward me. I couldn't believe my eyes. I express excitement to Mom, which she reciprocates.

It's been an hour since then and now she's walking all over the place. Sure, she falls occasionally, but she lifts herself up again and continues to walk. I guess her confidence is better than mine at that age. I'm thankful that I was around to see it happen. And to prove to myself that there's no strings involved.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Screaming Baby (Revised)

Posted here is the version of the crying baby that's going into the book. You can't argue that this doesn't look like Audrey.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Screaming Baby

This is a rejected illustration from the children's book I'm currently putting together. I love the piece itself, so I'd still like for it to be presented in some context.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Leon, The Boy With Severe Anger Issues

Leon is a sixth grader at my school. He's a very talented artist who, I think, may have a photo-graphic memory. Looking at his reproductions of other drawings, I'm amazed at the detail and swiftness of his work since often times he doesn't even have the original piece to look from as he draws it. He's also extremely fast and can scribble out a detailed drawing in a matter of seconds. Leon's only downfall is that he has severe anger issues. The kind that brings on frequent visits to the principal's office.

He's actually a bit of a douche.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Allergist Who Killed Himself

When I was very young, I sought help regularly from a particular allergist. Being a very eccentric man, my mother was not all too crazy about him and, often times, lamented how she would prefer the services of another. Despite this, we stayed on board.

One recurring theme, which was always brought up on our visits, was my deviated septum, which seemed to be the origin of most of my allergy-related problems. The allergist was bound and determined to give me a particular surgery that would clear out my sinus passages, thus allowing me to breathe better and suffer less over those spring months. After a period of coaxing, my mother finally gave-in and approved said surgery. It was a very short time after having given the go ahead--and before the surgery-- that the allergist took a gun to his own temple and ended his life.

I never underwent the surgery and now, some twenty years later, am still plagued with sinus problems and seasonal allergies.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Be A Hero!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Where's The Lemonade?

Audrey on the front porch. Spring has sprung.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Angel, The Third Grader With The Mustache

I hate to be the first person to leave a good party, but I simply must talk about a student who I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis. First off, congratulations to Mom, who currently holds the record for the subject of a posting with the most replies. And while I'm thinking about it, happy birthday (in case you missed it the first time).

Angel, who is from Mexico, is a third grader at the elementary school where I work. On occasion, he wears an old classic rock shirt (notably The Who or The Rolling Stones). Having not been in the United States for too long, his English vocabulary is limited. He does, however, come up with a remarkably hilarious phrase on almost a daily basis. His most recent being "my brain is getting smarter!" after having answered a difficult math problem correctly. Angel reminds me of why I got into teaching to begin with. He's very artistic and comes up with some of the most elaborate-yet-simple drawings that I've seen from a young person in a long time. Students like Angel are the exact reason I love the artwork of children. When I work with him, I anticipate what my future consists of once I get into my own classroom.

A very unusual thing about Angel is that he has a mustache. The first time I saw it, I exclaimed how magnificent it was. Even for a man of my age to grow. I asked how he's able to grow it to such a thick capacity. He refuses to answer, pleading embarrassment. Like I've explained to him, once he gets into middle school, he'll be the envy of the boys, as well as the prey of the girls. Everybody digs a mustache, I tell him. As long as it's not one of those peachfuzz ones that pedophiles often sport.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

32 Years Young

Throughout my life, my mom has made it a practice of telling people her wrong age. I'm not at liberty to say what age she really as, but throughout my years as a young child, she would often tell people she was sixteen. I believed it until I was about six, when Matt pointed out that if Mom were sixteen, she would have started reproducing at eight. He also mentioned how she's been perpetually "sixteen" throughout the duration of our lives up until that point and there would have had to come a time where she would have turned seventeen. This made sense to me, as I had taken for granted that she would have had to have aged within this time.

I remember one of Mom's birthdays when Matt called the three brothers together to discuss a scheme that he was wanting to hatch. It seemed that Mom's favorite radio station, KUDL, would announce birthday greetings to specific listeners on their morning show. The plan was to call the station that morning and request an on-air "happy birthday to Judy Teel, who is sixteen today. From her three sons." It was a genius plan, mixing an actual birthday greeting with the irony that she was turning sixteen all over again. Not to mention that she would have "three sons" requesting the greeting.

Matt made the call. Then we waited. With any luck, she would hear the message as she drove us to school, but the announcement did not come. As we climbed out of the car in front of the school, Matt encourage Mom to continue listening to the radio as long as possible (for reasons unknown to her). We arrived home that night to discover that the DJ never announced Mom's birthday. We were all disappointed, and told her of our failed plan. She laughed and thanked us for our efforts. It wasn't until a few years later that we realized that the DJ more than likely never announced the birthday greeting, assuming it was a crank call (sixteen year old mother=three kids. Pretty common now, but unheard of in the early eighties).

The age rouse went on for several years afterward. Finally, on one particular birthday, Matt pointed out that he was seventeen years old and, therefore, physically unable to be her biological son. Mom agreed and decided to bump her age up to 32. Now, several years later, she's still 32. And it was last night, when Mom mentioned to our waitress that she was 32, that it occurred to me that her youngest son had just turned that very age. I didn't have the heart to say anything though.

Happy 32nd birthday, Mom. We love you.